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Know your enemy; Know yourself

By · November 8th, 2001 · Phoenix
The time has come to move beyond the desire for revenge. The enemy is not transparent. He is worldwide in location; he is multiracial in identity. The enemy represents a global problem; and to the extent we make him only our problem, we will foolishly pay a high price.

This is not a war. The American government has a nasty habit of mislabeling its military actions. We called Korea a "police action," although it was more clearly a war. What we are doing now is closer to a police action. Until we acknowledge this, we will not act under an appropriate legal template, as follows.

Terrorism, camps for the training of terrorists and clearly terrorist organizations must be declared illegal under international law. A concise definition can be refined by the United Nations. Once an ally identifies a terrorist situation in the appropriate sector -- England handles Ireland, for example -- under the rules created, the terrorist organization is offered a chance to surrender to jurisprudence. If there is refusal, the camp or organization is forcibly raised or captured.

An international anti-terrorism force under the same set of rules should handle terrorist activity not addressed in this way. This is a global problem, requiring global cooperation for solution.

Any terrorist act anywhere must create an immediate open season on all camps, updating the status of their demise.

In this sense, we are at a military crossroads. We can use this opportunity to establish more world peace by, as a world community, eradicating an evil, or we can continue acting on a war model. This will have poor consequences, some of which we have already seen.

First, despite international support, we are bearing the brunt of the costs of this "war" -- not to mention the potential loss of life.

Having such a distant and poorly defined enemy leads to more "accidents" with loss of life for the innocent. It also throws an unavoidable imperialist shroud over our actions, even if not real. Such "accidents" and inadvertent arrogance fuel hate toward us.

More important, without a well defined external enemy, our government -- and especially our Republican Party -- has a historical and current tendency to make war on us, first through violations of our civil liberties, then in the propagandized promotion of a domestic agenda, using the "war" as an excuse, to make the rich corporate/governmental alliance richer and more influential.

Consider the fast-tracked alterations in anti-terrorism laws and some of the egregious results that have already occurred. A college student leaves his roommate an envelope, just an envelope, with a return address in the name of Mohamed. That student is now being prosecuted as a felon. Such violation and bigotry by law enforcement is already too common. Say, for example, that a mentally disturbed man calls the mayor of a town in New Jersey and threatens to wipe out the town with anthrax. The disturbed individual will face life in prison.

Oddly enough, sending fake anthrax powder gets you only five years. Perhaps the courts can handle such overdone charges and inefficient quick-fix laws to regulate us with proper jurisprudence. But in the wake of constant fear promoted by the administration and media, that will be a difficult task. We should not trust this process.

As to the more obvious partisan agenda, the tax incentive rushed through the House and on its way to the Senate gave almost all of the incentives to big business. Small business owners and workers, the backbones of our economy, get next to nothing. This is a typically Republican "trickle down" maneuver done in the name of fighting this war.

We all know the eventual result of Reaganomics. To pursue such policy while facing a recession is irresponsible.

This is not to say we don't need incentives. We have a dire need to rebuild a public-health infrastructure that was all but destroyed during the Reagan and previous Bush years.

What is critical here is that our national domestic agenda is important -- more important now than ever, just as our freedoms are more important than ever.

Furthermore, instead of controlling the American people, we need to protect our country. The Immigration and Naturalization Service, as anyone who has visited any of its offices knows, is an administrative joke. We have no accurate handle on legitimate immigration, as too many fake foreign birth certificates and "relatives" who are already citizens demonstrate. Our boarders indeed are too fluid, and this needs to be addressed with resourcefulness.

Most of all, all media, not just public radio, need to scrutinize and analyze our government's actions and statements relentlessly. Is the current anthrax infestation a result of a domestic source? We can figure this out now and should, rather than using the threat to instill more fear and, perhaps, national compliance with a "get rich, give us more missile funding, make a more powerful police state" agenda.

It is one of those supreme potential ironies that a "threat" causing us to lose our reason might be the result of our own bureaucratic ineptitude -- allowing our own biological weapon to get loose on us.

Keep this in mind at all times: The enemies of true democracy are everywhere, in every position. Through greed, special interest, fear and ignorance, they will try to have their way.



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